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Publication numberUS6095169 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/197,483
Publication dateAug 1, 2000
Filing dateNov 20, 1998
Priority dateDec 31, 1997
Fee statusPaid
Publication number09197483, 197483, US 6095169 A, US 6095169A, US-A-6095169, US6095169 A, US6095169A
InventorsChung-Kuang Lin, Jung-Jen Chang
Original AssigneeFu Tai Umbrella Works, Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic umbrella having rib assembly formed with light grooved rib reinforced resilient rib
US 6095169 A
Abstract
An automatic umbrella includes: a top rib and a stretcher rib each having a cross section of U shape or the like shape and made of light material including aluminum alloy, an outer rib gradually tapered outwardly and an auxiliary stretcher rib each having a cross section of circular shape or the like shape and made of composite or plastic materials having good resilience and mechanical strength to be respectively connected with the top rib and the stretcher rib, a flattened tensioning spring jacketed on the shaft and retained between a middle runner arid a lower runner having a cross section of the spring ring formed as rectangular shape for forming a slim umbrella shaft, and a top cap member firmly fixed on a top of the shaft, thereby providing an automatic umbrella having light weight, better resilience and strength, slim structure, and firmly fastened top cap.
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Claims(8)
What is claimed is:
1. An automatic umbrella comprising:
a reinforced umbrella rib assembly including at least a top rib (1) pivotally connected to an upper notch (51) of a central shaft (5) and connected with a stretcher rib (4), each said top rib (1) and each said stretcher rib (4) having a cross section of U shape and made of materials selected from aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, and materials light in weight, and mechanically processed, manufactured and integrally formed with a groove longitudinally recessed in each said top rib (1) and each said stretcher rib (4), an outer rib (2') secured to an outer portion (11) of each said top rib (1), said stretcher rib (4) pivotally connected between a middle runner (52) slidably held on the central shaft (5) and the top rib (1) adjacent to a junction between the top rib (1) and the outer rib (2) and an auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) pivotally connected between the stretcher rib (4) and a lower runner (53) slidably held on the central shaft (5), with said outer rib (2) and said auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) made of composites and plastic materials selected from carbon fiber, fiber-glass reinforced plastic, nylon, mineral-fiber reinforced composites, and engineering plastics having good mechanical strength for resisting bending, deformation and twisting and having good resilience for reinforcing the top rib (1) for forming the umbrella rib assembly with light weight and resilience;
a flattened tensioning spring (55) for opening the umbrella retained between said middle runner (52) and said lower runner (53) having a cross section (551) of rectangular shape of a spring ring of the spring (55) for minimizing the dimension of the shaft (5);
a top cap member (56) including an adapter secured on a top of the central shaft (5) and a plug fixed on a top of the adapter for firmly fastening the top cap member (56) on the top of the central shaft (5);
a plurality of ball tips (3) each formed with a tubular hole (31) in the ball tip (3) to be firmly engageable with an outer end portion (22) of each said outer rib (2) which is gradually tapered outwardly; and
said top rib (1) having an outer portion (11) which is bifurcated to be two crimping lugs (111) for cladding an inner portion (21) of the outer rib (2), having a plurality of prongs (112) pressed inwardly from the top rib (1) into the inner portion (21) of the outer rib for firmly connecting the inner portion (21) of the outer rib (2) with the outer portion (11) of the top rib (1).
2. An automatic umbrella according to claim 1, wherein said outer portion (11) of said top rib (1) is formed with a pair of protrusion lugs (110) for pivotally connecting the stretcher rib (4) by a pivot (12);
each said protrusion lug (110) tapered inwardly towards a middle portion of said top rib (1) for forming a reinforcing wing portion (113) between the protrusion lug (110) and the middle portion of the top rib (1), having a bottom extension (114) formed on a bottom of said top rib (1) as bent from one said reinforcing wing portion (113) for cladding an innermost end (211) of the outer rib (2); and said stretcher rib (4) having a pair of lugs (40) formed thereon for pivotally connecting an outer portion of said auxiliary stretcher rib (4a).
3. An automatic umbrella comprising:
a reinforced umbrella rib assembly including at least a top rib (1) pivotally connected to an upper notch (51) of a central shaft (5) and connected with a stretcher rib (4), each said top rib (1) and each said stretcher rib (4) having a cross section of U shape and made of materials selected from aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, and materials light in weight, and mechanically processed, manufactured and integrally formed with a groove longitudinally recessed in each said top rib (1) and each said stretcher rib (4), an outer rib (2) secured to an outer portion (11) of each said top rib (1), said stretcher rib (4) pivotally connected between a middle runner (52) slidably held on the central shaft (5) and the top rib (1) adjacent to a junction between the top rib (1) and the outer rib (2) and an auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) pivotally connected between the stretcher rib (4) and a lower runner (53) slidably held on the central shaft (5), with said outer rib (2) and said auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) made of composites and plastic materials selected from carbon fiber, fiber-glass reinforced plastic, nylon, mineral-fiber reinforced composites, and engineering plastics having good mechanical strength for resisting bending, deformation and twisting and having good resilience for reinforcing the top rib (1) for forming the umbrella rib assembly with light weight and resilience;
a flattened tensioning spring (55) for opening the umbrella retained between said middle runner (52) and said lower runner (53) having a cross section (551) of rectangular shape of a spring ring of the spring (55) for minimizing the dimension of the shaft (5);
a top cap member (56) including an adapter secured on a top of the central shaft (5) and a plug fixed on a top of the adapter for firmly fastening the top cap member (56) on the top of the central shaft (5);
a plurality of ball tips (3) each formed with a tubular hole (31) in the ball tip (3) to be firmly engageable with an outer end portion (22) of each said outer rib (2) which is gradually tapered outwardly; and
said top rib (1) having its outer portion (11) cladding the inner portion (21) of the outer rib (2), and a joint member (10) disposed around a junction between the top rib (1) and the outer rib (2), said joint member (10) including: a pair of protrusion lugs (101) for pivotally connecting an outer rib portion (41) of the stretcher rib (4) by a pivot (12), two pairs of crimping lugs (102, 103) disposed on opposite sides of the protrusion lugs (101) for cladding the outer portion (11) of the top rib (1) and the inner portion (21) of the outer rib (2) which has been clad in the outer portion (11) of the top rib (1), and a plurality of prongs pressed inwardly from the joint member (10) into the outer portion (11) of the top rib (1) and the inner portion (21) of the outer rib (2) for joining the joint member (10), the outer rib (2), and the top rib (1).
4. An automatic umbrella comprising:
a reinforced umbrella rib assembly including at least a top rib (1) pivotally connected to an upper notch (51) of a central shaft (5) and connected with a stretcher rib (4), each said top rib (1) and each said stretcher rib (4) having a cross section of U shape and made of materials selected from aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, and materials light in weight, and mechanically processed, manufactured and integrally formed with a groove longitudinally recessed in each said top rib (1) and each said stretcher rib (4), an outer rib (2) secured to an outer portion (11) of each said top rib (1), said stretcher rib (4) pivotally connected between a middle runner (52) slidably held on the central shaft (5) and the top rib (1) adjacent to a junction between the top rib (1) and the outer rib (2) and an auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) pivotally connected between the stretcher rib (4) and a lower runner (53) slidably held on the central shaft (5), with said outer rib (2) and said auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) made of composites and plastic materials selected from carbon fiber, fiber-glass reinforced plastic, nylon, mineral-fiber fiber reinforced composites, and engineering plastics having good mechanical strength for resisting bending, deformation and twisting and having good resilience for reinforcing the top rib (1) for forming the umbrella rib assembly with light weight and resilience;
a flattened tensioning spring (55) for opening the umbrella retained between said middle runner (52) and said lower runner (53) having a cross section (551) of rectangular shape of a spring ring of the spring (55) for minimizing the dimension of the shaft (5); a top cap member (56) including an adapter secured on a top of the central shaft (5) and a plug fixed on a top of the adapter;
a plurality of ball tips (3) each formed with a tubular hole (31) in the ball tip (3) to be firmly engageable with an outer end portion (22) of each said outer rib (2) which is gradually tapered outwardly; and
said outer portion (11) of the top rib (1) having an inner portion (21) of the outer rib (2) clad within the outer portion (11) of the top rib (1), and having a joint member (10) clad on said outer portion (11) of the top rib (1), said joint member (10) including: a central through hole (100) for inserting the outer portion (11) of the top rib (1) into the central through hole (100), a pin (105) transversely passing through the joint member (10), the outer portion (11) of the top rib (1) and the inner portion (21) of the outer rib (2) for joining the joint member (10) together with the top rib (1) and the outer rib (2), and a pair of protrusion lugs (101) protruding downwardly from the joint member (10) for pivotally connecting the stretcher rib (4) by a pivot (12).
5. An automatic umbrella according to claim 1, wherein said top cap member (56) includes: a plastic adapter (561) having a male-threaded portion (562) formed on a bottom of the adapter (561) to be secured into a female threaded hole (50) formed in a top end of the central shaft (5) and having a female-threaded opening (563) Formed in a top surface of the adapter (56i); and a metal plug (564) having a screw portion (565) formed on a bottom of the plug (564), to be engaged in the opening 563) of the adapter (561), thereby firmly fastening the top cap member (56) on the top of the central shaft (5) for preventing loosening and separation of the cap member (56) from the shaft (5).
6. An automatic umbrella according to claim 1, wherein said top cap member (56) includes: an adapter (561a) having a male-threaded portion (562) formed on a bottom of the adapter (561) to be engaged with a female-threaded hole (50) formed in a top end of the shaft (5) and having a central hole (563a) formed through the adapter (561a); and a plastic plug (564a) having a bottom plug portion (565a) formed with a bottom recess (566) in a bottom of the portion (565a); whereby upon engagement of the plug portion (565a) with a bottom portion of the adapter (561a) through the central hole (563a) of the adapter, the plug (564a) will be pushed into the adapter (561a) to be firmly secured on the top of the shaft (5).
7. An automatic umbrella according to claim 1, wherein said auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) is a slightly arcuate resilient rib retained between tile lower runner (53) and the stretcher rib (4); whereby upon closing and folding of the rib assembly (2), the auxiliary stretcher rib (4a) is straightened to store its resilience to thereby add on the resilience of the flattened tensioning spring (55) jacketed on the shaft (5) adapted for opening the umbrella.
8. An automatic umbrella according to claim 1, wherein said middle runner (52) includes a ferrule (521) and a sleeve member (522) assembled with each other for forming said middle runner (52).
Description

This application is a continuation-in-part (C-I-P) of U.S. patent application (or parent application) filed by the inventors on: Dec. 31, 1997 with Ser. No. 09/001,515, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,931,175.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The parent application did not disclose an automatic umbrella having proper elements and mechanism for both light weight and resilient performance.

Accordingly, this application provides further elements and modifications in addition to the light and resilient rib assembly of the parent application to form an automatic umbrella lightly carried and resiliently operated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to provide an automatic umbrella including: a top rib and a stretcher rib each having a cross section of U shape or the like shape and made of light material including aluminum alloy, an outer rib gradually tapered outwardly and an auxiliary stretcher rib each having a cross section of circular shape or the like shape and made of composite or plastic materials having good resilience and mechanical strength to be respectively connected with the top rib and the stretcher rib, a flattened tensioning spring jacketed on the shaft and retained between a middle runner and a lower runner having a cross section of the spring ring formed as rectangular shape for forming a slim umbrella shaft, and a top cap member firmly fixed on a top of the shaft, thereby providing an automatic umbrella having light weight, better resilience and strength, slim structure, and firmly fastened top cap.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an opened umbrella of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a folded umbrella of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the rib assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows the flattened tensioning spring of the present invention,

FIG. 5 shows the top cap member of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a partial sectional drawing of the top cap member.

FIG. 6a shows another exploded top cap member of the present invention.

FIG. 6b is a partial sectional drawing of the top cap member as assembled from FIG. 6a.

FIG. 6c shows an exploded middle runner of the present invention.

FIG. 6d shows the middle runner as assembled from FIG. 6c.

FIG. 7 shows the ball tip securable to the outer rib in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 shows the ball tip as secured on the outer rib.

FIG. 9 shows another preferred embodiment of the rib assembly.

FIG. 10 shows sitll another preferred embodiment of the rib assembly.

FIG. 11 shows further preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the joint member of the present invention as shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 shows still further preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the joint member as shown in FIG. 13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As shown in FIGS. 1-8, the present invention comprises: an umbrella rib assembly including at least a top rib 1 pivotally connected to an upper notch 51 on an upper portion of a central shaft 5 and having a cross section of U shape or the like shape, an outer rib 2 having a cross section of circular shape or the like shape and connected to the top rib 1, a ball tip 3 connected with an outer end of the outer rib 2, a stretcher rib 4 pivotally connected between a middle runner 52 slidably held on the central shaft 5 and the top rib 1 adjacent to a joint between the top rib 1 and the outer rib 2, an auxiliary stretcher rib 4a pivotally connected between tie stretcher rib 4 and a lower runner 53 slidably held on the central shaft 5, a flattened tensioning spring 55 jacketed on the shaft and retained between the middle runner 52 and the lower runner 53 for opening the umbrella, a top cap member 56 firmly fastened on a top of the central shaft 5, and an umbrella cloth 6 secured on the top ribs 1 and the outer ribs 2 for covering the umbrella. The present invention may also be modified to be multiple folds such as two folds or triple folds of an umbrella, not limited in this invention.

The top rib 1 and the stretcher rib 4 may be made of light materials including aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, and other materials light in weight, suitable for mechanical processing, extrusion, pressing, compression and integral forming for making an U-shaped groove longitudinally recessed in the top rib 1 and the stretcher rib 4.

The outer rib 2 and the auxiliary stretcher rib 4a may be made of composites or plastic materials having properties such as good mechanical strength for resisting bending, deformation, or twisting and having good resilience. The materials for making the outer rib 2 and the auxiliary stretcher rib 4a may be selected from the group consisting of: carbon fiber, fiber-glass reinforced plastic, nylon, mineral-fiber reinforced composites, and the other reinforced composites, elastomers or engineering plastics. The rib 2, 4a may have a cross section of circular shape or other suitable shapes.

The top rib 1 includes an outer portion 11 having an outermost end portion 111 which is bifurcated to be two crimping lugs for cladding, surrounding or compressing an inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2, having a plurality of prongs, teeth, or protrusions 112 pressed inwardly from the top rib 1 into the inner portion 21 of the outer rib for firmly connecting the inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2 with the outer portion i1 of the top rib 1.

The outer rib 2 has its outer end portion 22 gradually tapered outwardly to be connected with a ball tip 3 which may be made of the same composite or plastic material as used for making the outer rib 2, or any other materials. The bail tip 3 is formed with a tubular hole 31 therein for squeezing and engaging the tapered end portion 22 of the outer rib 2 into the tubular hole 31 of the ball tip 3 for a firm connection of the ball tip 3 on each tapered end portion 22 as shown in FIGS. 2, 7 and 8.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the top rib 1 has its outer portion 11 formed with a pair of protrusion lugs 110 pivotally connected with an outer rib portion 41 of the stretcher rib 4 by a pivot 12; an inner end portion 13 of the top rib 1 pivotally secured to the upper notch 51 formed on an upper portion of the central shaft 5. The stretcher rib 4 has its inner rib portion 42 pivotally connected to the middle runner 52 slidably held on the central shaft 5, and the auxiliary stretcher rib 4a pivotally connected between the lower runner 53 and a pair of lugs 40 formed on the stretcher rib 4, whereby upon opening of the umbrella, the runner 53 will be stopped on the shaft 5 while the umbrella cloth 6 is extended by the rib assembly consisting of the top and outer ribs 1, 2 as shown in FIG. 1. Each protrusion lug 110 is tapered inwardly towards a middle portion of the top rib 1 for forming a reinforcing wing portion 113 between the lug 110 and the middle portion of the top rib 1, having a bottom extension 114 bent from the reinforcing wing portion 113 to be positioned at a bottom of the top rib 1 for cladding and limiting an innermost end 21i of the outer rib 2.

The auxiliary stretcher rib 4a is a slightly arcuate resilient rib retained between the lower runner 53 and the stretcher rib 4 (FIG. 1). Upon closing of the present invention, the rib assembly is folded and the lower runner 53 is locked on the shaft 5 by catch 54 as shown in FIG. 2 to straighten and tension the auxiliary stretcher rib 4a to store its resilience to thereby add on the resilience of the flattened tensioning spring 55 jacketed on the shaft 5 adapted for opening the umbrella. The resilience of the plural auxiliary stretcher ribs 4a may share the "main resilience" of the tensioning spring 55, thereby smoothly sharing a retraction force when closing the umbrella from FIG. 1 to FIG. 2.

As shown in FIGS. 4 and 1, the flattened tensioning spring 55 retained between the middle and lower runners 52, 53 includes a spring ring having a cross section 551 formed as a rectangular shape for minimizing the width of the tensioning spring 55 since the rectangular cross section of the spring ring can be narrower than the circular cross section of a conventional spring ring for making a slim structure of the present invention.

The top cap member 56 (FIGS. 5, 6) includes: a plastic (such as PVC) adapter 561 having a male-threaded portion 562 formed on a bottom of the adapter 561 to be secured into a female threaded hole 50 formed in a top end of the central shaft 5 and having a female-threaded opening 563 formed in a top surface of the adapter 561; and a metal (such as copper) plug 564 having a screw portion 565 formed on a bottom of the plug 564 to be engaged in the opening 563 of the adapter 561, thereby firmly fastening the top cap member 56 on a top of the central shaft 5 for preventing loosening and separation of the cap member 56 from the shaft 5.

Another preferred top cap member (FIGS. 6a, 6b) includes: an adapter 561a having a m ale-threaded portion 562 formed on a bottom of the adapter 561 to be engaged with a female-threaded hole 50 formed in a top end of the shaft 5 and having a central hole 563a formed through the adapter 561a; and a plastic plug 564a having a bottom plug portion 565a formed with a bottom recess 566 in a bottom of the plug portion 565a; whereby upon engagement of tie plug portion 565a with a bottom portion of the adapter 561a through the central hole 563a of the adapter, the p lug 564a will be pushed into the adapter 561a to be firmly secured on the top of the shaft 5.

As shown in FIG. 9, the outer portion 11 of the top rib o is formed with a pair of crimping lugs 111 for cladding the inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2, and the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1 is pivotally connected with the stretcher rib 4 by a pivot 12.

As shown in FIG. 10, the outer portion i5 of the top rib 1 is formed with a pair of protrusion lugs 111 for pivotally connecting the stretcher rib 4 by a pivot 12, and formed with two pairs of crimping lugs 112, 113 disposed on opposite sides of the protrusion lugs 111 for respectively cladding the inner end portion 21 of the outer rib 2.

As shown in FIGS. 11, 12, the top rib 1 has its outer portion 11 cladding or surrounding the inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2, and a joint member 10 disposed around a junction between the top rib i and the outer rib 2. The joint member 10 includes: a pair of protrusion Lugs 101 for pivotally connecting an outer rib portion 41 of the stretcher rib 4 by a pivot 12, two pairs of crimping lugs 102, 103 disposed on opposite sides of the protrusion lugs 101 for cladding the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1 in which the inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2 has been clad in the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1, and a plurality of prongs, teeth or protrusions (not shown) pressed inwardly from the joint member 10 into the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1 and the inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2 for firmly connecting the joint member 10, the outer rib 2, and the top rib 1 all together.

As shown in FIGS. 13, 14, the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1, after cladding the inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2 within the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1, is then clad by a Joint member 10. The joint member 10 includes: a central through hole 100 for inserting the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1 into the central through hole 100, a pin or nail 105 transversely passing through the joint member 10, the outer portion 11 of the top rib 1 and the inner portion 21 of the outer rib 2 for joining the joint member 10 together with the top rib 1 and the outer rib 2, and a pair of protrusion lugs 101 protruding downwardly from the joint member 10 for pivotally connecting the stretcher rib 4 by a pivot 12.

The middle runner 52 may also be assembled from a ferrule 52i and a sleeve member 522, made of materials having good mechanical strength, for preventing deformation of the runner 52 (FIGS. 6c, 6d).

The present invention is superior to a conventional automatic umbrella with the following advantages:

1. The rib assembly is light in weight but still having a good mechanical property for resisting deformation, bending and twisting of the ribs.

2. The tensioning spring 55 is flattened and minimized in dimension for making a slim umbrella.

3. The top cap member 56 is firmly fixed on a top of the central shaft 5 for preventing loosening or loss of the cap from the umbrella top.

4. The ball tips 3 are firmly fixed to the tapered outer portions 22 of outer ribs 2 so that each ball tip 3 may be shortened to be closer to the central shaft when the umbrella is closed for making a compact umbrella.

The present invention may be modified without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. The auxiliary stretcher rib 4a as shown in FIG. 1 may also be substituted with a fine metal rib, not limited in this invention.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6230725 *May 3, 1999May 15, 2001Ko Chin-SungUmbrella main stretcher formed of a carbon fiber rod and aluminum alloy portion
US6374840 *Jun 2, 2000Apr 23, 2002Treasure Garden, Inc.Cordless patio umbrella
US6422251 *Dec 14, 2000Jul 23, 2002Windbrella Products Corp.Umbrella having a simplified configuration
US6497242 *Nov 13, 2000Dec 24, 2002Fu Tai Umbrella Works, Ltd.Multiple-fold umbrella rib assembly having inner ribs of aluminum alloy and outer ribs of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics
US6814093 *Jun 17, 2002Nov 9, 2004Ching-Chuan YouAuto-opening umbrella with enhanced spreaders
US7798161Sep 5, 2007Sep 21, 2010Oliver Joen-An MaShade structures such as umbrellas
US7900643Sep 5, 2007Mar 8, 2011Oliver Joen-An MaHubs for shade structures
US7963293Aug 31, 2005Jun 21, 2011Oliver Joen-An MaUmbrella opening and closing device
US8061375Sep 4, 2009Nov 22, 2011Oliver Joen-An MaAdjustable rib connectors
US8082935Mar 24, 2010Dec 27, 2011Oliver Joen-An MaQuick connector for shade structure
US8360082Dec 7, 2010Jan 29, 2013Kahng David JCompact folding umbrella with hybrid ribs to resist damage due to inversion
US8555906Mar 7, 2011Oct 15, 2013Oliver Joen-An MaHubs for shade structures
US20120186616 *Jan 24, 2012Jul 26, 2012Jeng-Kuo ChengUmbrella
Classifications
U.S. Classification135/31, 135/29, 135/25.32, 135/32, 135/40, 135/25.1
International ClassificationA45B25/02, A45B25/16
Cooperative ClassificationA45B25/16, A45B25/02
European ClassificationA45B25/16, A45B25/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 19, 2011FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Nov 28, 2007FPAYFee payment
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Nov 21, 2003FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4